WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — Vice President Kamala Harris chaired the first National Space Council meeting of the Biden-Harris Administration Wednesday, Dec. 1 at the U.S. Institute of Peace in Washington. Prior to the meeting, President Biden expanded the number of participants of the council by executive order, reflecting the Biden-Harris administration’s broad priorities and creating the largest, most diverse space council in the nation’s history.
WASHINGTON (Senate Commerce Committee PR) – U.S. Sens. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., and Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., ranking member and chair of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, along with Sens. Cynthia Lummis, R-Wyo., and John Hickenlooper, D-Colo., ranking member and chair of the Subcommittee on Space and Science, today sent a letter requesting that Vice President Kamala Harris prioritize space debris issues in her role as chair of the National Space Council. The Senators also sent a letter to Department of Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo to inquire about the department’s outer space-related efforts following Russia’s destructive anti-satellite test two weeks ago.
WASHINGTON (Frank Lucas/Brian Babin PR) — House Science, Space, and Technology Committee Ranking Member Frank Lucas joined Space and Aeronautics Subcommittee Ranking Member Brian Babin in a letter to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) requesting information on their attempts to expand their role in commercial space accident investigations. Concurrently, Babin introduced a resolution to reiterate that commercial space launch is a developmental activity, rather than a mode of transportation.
PARIS (White House PR) — Following her meeting with President Emmanuel Macron of France, Vice President Kamala Harris is announcing a number of collaborative initiatives that the United States will undertake alongside France and other countries to address global issues and emerging threats. She is announcing expanded cooperation on space and support for efforts to advance international cooperation in cybersecurity. These initiatives underscore the U.S. commitment to work with allies and partners to take on the challenges of the 21st century.
For decades, the United States and France have benefited from robust cooperation in space across our respective civil, commercial, and national security sectors. Recognizing the growing importance of space in providing benefits to humanity, from tackling climate challenges and enabling human exploration of space and scientific discovery to ensuring sustainable economic development and security, our countries acknowledge the pivotal role international cooperation plays in sustaining the outer space environment so we may maximize the benefits space offers. Based on this shared vision and over 60 years of joint space activities, the United States and France will seek greater cooperation through the following initiatives:
Editor’s Note: UPI reports that Harris will announce that the first meeting of the National Space Council under the Biden Administration will be held on Dec. 1.
GREENBELT, Md. (NASA PR) — Vice President Kamala Harris will visit NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland today, Nov. 5, to get a firsthand look at the agency’s work to combat the climate crisis and protect vulnerable communities.
The vice president will be joined by NASA Administrator Bill Nelson and leaders from the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration and the U.S. Geological Survey. The group will tour climate-oriented space activities underway at Goddard and learn about collaboration among federal agencies on space missions that are central to tackling the climate crisis and improving our scientific understanding of Earth’s systems.
Following the tour, at around 4:45 p.m. EDT, the vice president will deliver remarks that will be streamed live on NASA Television, NASA social media, the NASA app, and the agency’s website.
For more information about NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center and the missions and activities it supports, visit:
It seems that Elon Musk is a bit peeved that President Joe Biden didn’t congratulate SpaceX on completing the privately-funded Inspiration4 crewed mission last week and helping to raise $210 million for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
“He’s still sleeping,” Musk wrote in response to a question from a Twitter follower about Biden’s silence. It was a clear reference to ex-President Donald Trump’s description of him as “sleepy Joe” during the campaign.
The remark set off the usual battle on social media. Musk’s legion of defenders called the omission unforgivable. Musk’s critics noted his willingness to amply praise authoritarian China where Musk’s Tesla Motors has a manufacturing plant even as he called U.S. officials “fascists” for their efforts to contain the deadly COVID-19 virus.
For his part, Jared Isaacman, the billionaire who funded and commanded the Inspiration4 flight, says Biden’s silence is no big deal.
The Users’ Advisory Group (UAG) is a federal advisory committee comprised of experts from outside the United States Government (USG) created as part of the National Space Council (NSpC). The NSpC is an Executive Branch interagency coordinating committee chaired by the Vice President, which is tasked with advising and assisting the President on national space policy and strategy. UAG members provide counsel on any and all space policy issues. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has sponsored the UAG on behalf of the NSpC since 2018.
The White House has tapped space policy expert Chirag Parikh to become executive secretary of the National Space Council. He will oversee day-to-day operations of the council, which helps to formulate, coordinate and implement space policies across the federal government. Vice President Kamala Harris chairs the council.
Parikh was director of space policy at the National Security Council from 2010-16, where he oversaw creation of the Obama Administration’s 2010 National Space Policy. The Obama Administration did not have a National Space Council; the Trump Administration revived it in 2017 after a 24-year hiatus.
Parikh left the White House in 2016 to serve as director of the Office of Source Strategies at the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency. He was responsible for worldwide imagery collection operations and adjudicated requirements for all U.S. space-based imagery intelligence systems.
Parikh became senior director of Microsoft’s Azure Space in 2020, where he focused on integrating space applications with Microsoft’s cloud computing platform.
Prior to joining the Obama White House in 2010, Parikh served as deputy national intelligence officer for science and technology at the National Intelligence Council and principle intelligence analyst for space systems at the National Air and Space Intelligence Center.
Parikh graduated from the University of Cincinnati with a bachelor of science degree in aerospace engineering.
Florida Congressman Michael Waltz is a member of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology. In January, he completed a two-year on the Space and Aeronautics Subcommittee. So, he should know what he’s talking about on space.
Alas, he is severely factually challenged about the very thing he is supposedly an expert. Here is the assessment he gave to Fox News the other day about NASA and the U.S. space program:
WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — Sen. Bill Nelson took office as the 14th administrator of NASA Monday, after he was given the oath of office by Vice President Kamala Harris during a ceremony at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building in Washington.
Harris will swear in former Sen. Bill Nelson as the next NASA Administrator on Monday morning (details TBA). The Senate unanimously approved his nomination on Thursday.
Nelson issued the following statement on Saturday:
“The Vice President is the perfect person to lead the federal government’s space policy, which is increasingly complex, with many nations in space.
“Vice President Lyndon Johnson was the first chair of the National Space Council when America initially ventured beyond Earth. Now, Vice President Harris will coordinate our nation’s efforts to ensure America continues to lead in space. It is an exciting time for our space program.”
The Trump Administration revived the National Space Council after a 24-year gap. The Biden Administration has announced it will keep the council’s Users’ Advisory Group, which was established by the last administration.
Politicoreports that the Biden Administration will retain the National Space Council. The council was revived by the Trump Administration in 2017 to coordinate national space activities after a 24-year gap in operation.
With the Trump Administration winding down, Scott Pace has left his position as executive executive of the National Space Council and returned to his previous post in academia.
“It has been the honor of a lifetime to serve President Donald J. Trump and Vice President Mike Pence in my capacity as Executive Secretary of the National Space Council,” Pace said in a statement. “The leadership of the president in reviving the National Space Council and the active chairmanship of the Vice President have made the past four years among the most ambitious and productive years for the Unite States space enterprise.
WASHINGTON (National Space Council PR) — Today, the National Space Council released the National Strategy for Planetary Protection. This Strategy will advance the Nation’s role in the sustainable exploration of space by appropriately protecting other planetary bodies and the Earth from potentially harmful biological contamination from space exploration activities.
By Establishing a National Strategy for Planetary Protection, the United States Continues to Lead in the Safe and Sustainable Exploration and Commercialization of Space
PLANETARY PROTECTION FOR THE 21ST CENTURY: The National Space Council released a strategy to ensure the protection of the Earth and other planetary bodies from harmful biological contamination from space exploration activities.
As the United States continues to lead in space exploration and commercialization, national policy must keep pace to accelerate our world-class commercial space sector and scientific enterprise, while appropriately avoiding biological contamination.
Many aspects of planetary protection policy have not been updated since the Apollo Era and do not reflect the increasing role and capabilities of the private sector.
Planetary protection against “forward contamination” ensures the validity of potential scientific discoveries in the search for extraterrestrial life.
Planetary protection against “backward contamination” ensures that the Earth’s biosphere is not adversely affected by the return of potentially hazardous microbes.
ADVANCING SPACE EXPLORATION LEADERSHIP: The National Strategy for Planetary Protection advances U.S. interests in science and exploration, commercial space activity, and international leadership.
This strategy outlines steps to implement direction from the 2020 National Space Policy for the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy to lead U.S. departments and agencies in the development of planetary protection operational guidelines.
Meeting the strategy’s objectives will ensure a cohesive national effort that balances scientific discovery, human exploration, and commercial activity in space, while meeting applicable international and domestic obligations.
The United States will continue to lead in the sustainable exploration of space by appropriately protecting the Earth and other celestial bodies.
Best practices developed by the United States that account for commercial and international partners will ensure safety, sustainability, and predictability in space for the benefit of all humankind.